Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Shanghai Story Walk IV (9/23,25/2012)

Sunday, September 23, 2012 (continued)
After completing Shanghai Story Walk III, we hopped on Line 2 Metro from the Jing'an Temple station to the Jiangsu Lu station. The Shanghai Story Walk IV ("Murder is Easy"), from the book Shanghai Story Walks by Yvette Ho Madany, takes us through the western section of the former French Concession.
If you first walk north on Jiangsu Road, you reach No. 155:
This is the former McTyeire School mentioned in Walk III, attended by the Song sisters and others mentioned in the book.
Presently it is the only all-girls school in Shanghai:
There is supposed to be a main building designed by László Hudec, which may be the building on the right, above.
Walked south on Jiangsu Lu, passing an old-time Chinese Traditional Medicine Pharmacy:
A delivery trike glides by from Jiangsu to Huashan Road:
We turned left onto Huashan, and then right onto Xingguo Road, where at No. 72 we entered the Xingguo Guest House/Radisson Plaza grounds:
We don't know why the ground is covered with plastic.
The Radisson Plaza Hotel:
Opened in 2002, on the grounds of several villas that were private residences for foreigners.
Villa No. 2, a Victorian coastal-style architectural construction with three three-vent chimneys:
Villa No. 3:
Villa No. 6 used to be the home of an American merchant:
Villa No. 7 used to be the home of a doctor:
Stained glass windows:
It took us a while to find Villa No. 1:
It is actually on the left as you enter from Xingguo Road.
Built in 1934 for George Swire of the Butterfield and Swire Company, a steamship agent. He wanted a mansion as grand as his rival, Henry Keswick, of Jardine Matheson. Swire attended the completion ceremony for the house, but then left Shanghai, never to return. The villa was designed by Clough William-Ellis, a Welsh architect who never came to China, because he was too busy. Because of the copper roof, it was often called the "Copper House," and sometimes as the "Ice Cream Man's House," since the head of Hazelwood Ice Cream once rented it.
After the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, private home owners had to pay property taxes, and the Swire house was given to the government in lieu of paying taxes. Former Shanghai mayor Chen Yi stayed here, as well as Chairman Mao.
Across the street at No. 67 Xingguo Road:
A house in pale yellow. A side story notes that yellow is a common color for repainting houses in Shanghai. It is a favorite color for the Chinese, as it is the imperial color and is associated with birthdays for the elderly, representing long life.
Since many of these villas are still private homes, or belong to the government, they are sometimes hidden behind tall walls and solid gates.
No. 893 Huashan Road, the former residence of Guo Dihuo:
Guo was assistant manager of the Wing On department store, and another relative of the Guo brothers who had the twin mansions on Nanjing Xi Road. The house was built in 1947.
Here a man is mowing the lawn, as is usually done, with a weed whacker:
We have seen two regular lawn mowers and one riding lawn mower in all of China!
No. 849 Huashan Road:
This was Kent's first time at the Ding Xiang Garden with its marvelous dragon wall:
Unfortunately it is not open to the public. Ding Xiang is now a club for retired elite government officials.
The villa here was built by Li Jingmai, the youngest son of Li Hongzhang, who was a Qing Dynasty Viceroy:
Villa entrance:
Supposedly it was built on the grounds of a film studio of the 1920s and 1930s.
Back out on Huashan where we crossed Wukang Road and continued to No. 831:
The former residence of Fufeng, an owner of flour mills, who bought the land from his relatives in the Li family, of Li Hongzhang, the Qing Dynasty Viceroy.
Pomelo tree:
Onward to the next corner to see the Apartment Villas at Nos. 823,825, and 827:
These buildings had two units each, and each unit had two bedrooms, two living rooms, two bathrooms, and one kitchen. When the author was growing up, she came here to the home of her pediatrician where she had calligraphy lessons with his son. She thought they were lucky to live in such a private area. Another resident here was the daughter of Shi Liangcai, the newspaper publisher mentioned in Walk III.
At this point, although not mentioned in the book, you should go across the street to Lane 868 Huashan Road. When you walk into the driveway of the apartment complex, a guard will come out and give you a business card size piece of paper with a map directing you to the Propaganda Poster Art Centre. This is one of the "museums" that should not be missed.
Now we turned left onto Wukang Road. At the corner is No. 2 Wukang Road:
The former residence of Mo Shangqing, a silk merchant who owned more than ten silk factories. He was the basis for the character in playwright Mao Dun's story called Zi Ye. Mo was kidnapped for ransom, a big business in the days of the Green Gang under Du Yueshang, the Godfather of Shanghai (see Walk II). Mo was later freed, but died soon afterwards in 1938.
A really shiny doorway at No. 12 Wukang Road:
The picture doesn't do justice to the shiny coppery tiles.
No. 67 Wukang Road:
Former residence of Chen Lifu, who was Chiang Kai-shek's secretary and the secretary of education in 1938. He went to Taiwan in 1949, and later started a chicken farm in New Jersey. He moved back to Taiwan in 1969 where he wrote texts on Chinese medicine and philosophy. The author also recounts that Chen was married for 63 years and never argued with his wife. He used to wake up at 5:30 am, shower, and walk 1,000 steps after breakfast.
No. 1, Lane 40 Wukang Road:
The former residence of Tang Chaoyi, the first prime minister of the Chinese Republic under Yuan Shikai, although he actually was a supporter of Sun Yat-sen. In 1938 it was rumored that he was collaborating with the Japanese, and his friends encouraged him to go to Hong Kong. Thinking he was a traitor, the Kuomintang sent assassins to his house under the pretense that they were going to show him some antiques. One of the assassins was a family friend, and so they were allowed in the house.
Tang's death caused disquiet with older Kuomintang leaders, so to cover up the deed, it is said that Chiang Kai-shek had the government pay funeral expenses and include Tang's name in the government's history archives. Later the family friend who participated in the assassination became paranoid and was checked into a mental hospital. The doctors reported that he kept a pistol, and when the police came to investigate, he brought out the gun, but was shot by the police.
No. 99 Wukang Road:
This villa was built in 1928 to house the president of the Calbeck, Macgregor & Company, a wine and spirits merchant. Later in the 1930s, Tang Hai'an lived here. He worked for Shanghai Customs and was a friend of T.V. Song, the brother of the Song sisters. After 1949, Liu Jingji lived here. He was an antique collector who donated forty items including Song Dynasty calligraphy to the Shanghai Museum.
When we came to Fuxing Xi Road, we decided to take a lunch break at Boxing Cat Brewery:
Returning to Wukang Road and continuing to No. 107:
The former residence of Chen Guofu, brother of Chen Lifu. Chen Guofu worked with Chiang Kai-shek at the Whampoa Military Academy. He was once president of the Agricultural Bank of China. He left for Taiwan in 1948 and died in 1951.
Not on the Walk, No. 109 Wukang Road:
A pretty entrance with vines and the lamps on top of the posts:
No. 113 Wukang Road:
Built in 1923, this villa was at one time home to Ba Jin, a contemporary Chinese writer who is supposed to have written and translated over 13 million words. He is known for a trilogy called Spring, Autumn,and Family about feudal families in China.
No. 115 Wukang Road:
The Midget Apartments were built in 1931 in a modern style.
Across the street from the apartments was a walled in villa at 262 Hunan Road, bought in 1943 by Zhou Haifu, the treasury secretary under Wang Jingwei, leader of the puppet government during Japanese occupation. Three years later Zhou died in prison in Nanjing.
Shanghai's first mayor, Chen Yi, lived here, as did He Zizhen, Chairman Mao's second wife (married in 1928) who lived until 1984. They had three sons and three daughters, with only one known to survive to adulthood. Some died in childhood and others were given to peasants to care for them during the Long March and were not found again.
Another villa that could not be photographed was No. 1 and 2 at 117 Wukang Road:
A pair of villas share a typical Chinese garden and belonged to Zhou Zuomin, a banker who worked his way up in the treasury department in NE China. He obtained a position in the Communications Bank of China, and in 1917 he founded his own bank. Warlords from the north invested in his bank, and Zhou invested in transportation, mines and trade. He was accused of supporting the Japanese, tried to escape but was caught. He was later released due to lack of evidence, and he went to Kong Kong in 1948. In 1951, Zhou was the first big banker to return to the mainland where his businesses were jointly owned by the government. He died in 1955.
Ferguson Lane at 376 Wukang Road:
During the days of the French Concession, Wukang Road was named Ferguson Road, after John Calvin Ferguson, a Canadian who spent 60 years in China as a missionary. He founded a Methodist school that eventually became Nanking University. He was the first president of the Nanyanng school established by Sheng Xuanhuai in Shanghai. Nanyang became the prestigious Jiaotong University. When the Qing Dynasty was overthrown, Ferguson was the only foreigner on the committee to examine the art treasures of the imperial palace for the Beijing Palace Museum in 1912. Ferguson also bought a newspaper, the Shanghai News Daily, that he ran for 30 years. Although the road became Wukang Road, this lane of shops and cafes retains the name of Ferguson.
No. 393 Wukang Road:
The former residence of Huang Xing, a revolutionary leader, army commander and statesman who worked with Sun Yat-sen and lived here in 1916. It is said that the north wing of this villa was built in 1930 in the Art Deco-style, above, while the south wing, below, was built in 1912 in English-country style:
I am sure I have the right building, but am not sure about these wings...
We were able to go inside the building, in the Art Deco wing:
No. 390 Wukang Road:
The former residence of the Italian Consulate General, built in 1932 in Mediterranean style.
No. 395 Wukang Road:
A Baroque-style garden villa built in 1926. It was the former site of the National Academy of Peiping, specifically the Institutes of Radium and Medicine.
The My Landiao shop window of Miao culture at 411 Wukang Road:
I was saying you can't miss seeing this bike, just as the girl almost was run over by a motor scooter:
Wukang Road ends at Huaihai Zhong Road, where this building stands at No. 1850:
The Meite Gongyu or Normandie Apartments was built in the 1920s and designed by László Hudec. 
Today we left in the middle of the Walk and headed home on Tianping Road, passing the popular Jesse Restaurant:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Picking up where we left off on  the Shanghai Story Walk IV, by continuing east on Huaihai Zhong Road.
The next stop is No. 1843, the former residence of Song Qingling. We have been here before and did not make a repeat visit:
The villa itself was built in 1920 for a shipping magnate. At some point Chiang Kai-shek's second son, Chiang Wei-kuo, moved in. When Song Qingling returned to Shanghai from Chongqing in 1945, she donated the home she had with husband, Sun Yat-sen (considered the "Father of the Chinese Republic"), to the government as a memorial. The Kuomintang government then transferred the deed of this villa from Chiang Wei-kuo (who is actually her step-nephew). This was Song Qingling's residence in Shanghai until she died in 1981.
The museum here contains letters between the Song sisters, who wrote in English. The two older girls, Ailing and Qingling, studied at Wesleyan College in Macon ,Georgia, and the youngest, Meiling, went to Wellesley College in Massachusetts.
Ailing worked as Sun Yat-sen's English secretary, and when she got married, her sister Qingling took over the job. Qingling fell in love with Sun, and they married in Japan in 1915. Qingling's parents were not happy, since Sun was 26 years older and in fact a friend of Qingling's father, and Sun was still married when he met Qingling.
After Sun Yat-sen died in 1925, Qingling left China in 1927 when the Kuomintang expelled the Communists. She returned, but left again in 1937 when the war against Japan began. In 1939 she was in Qongqing when she founded the China Defense League, which became the China Welfare Institute, involved in care of women and children. Even though she had no children of her own, Qingling was considered the "Mother of the China."
Qingling supported the Communist Party, even though her sisters were pro-Nationalists (sister Meiling was married to Chiang Kai-shek). She played a major political role in the early years of the People's Republic of China. She was admitted to the Communist Party only two weeks before her death in 1981.
Next at No. 1 Lane 1818 Huaihai Zhong Road:
The former residence of Bao Yugang, who worked in banking in Shanghai before moving to Hong Kong. In 1955 he decided to go into shipping and bought a used ship from England. His method was to lease the ship long-term for a low monthly rate when the common practice was short-term leasing. Thus his business did not suffer during a shipping downturn in 1957. In 1963 HSBC started investing in his business and by 1980 he had over 200 ships. Bao also made other investments, and was able to make generous donations to build a library at Jiaotong University in Shanghai and to build a university in his hometown of Ningbo. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II before he died in 1991. Bao's daughter founded a school in 2007 on the grounds of the Shanghai No. 3 Girls' Middle School (formerly the McTyeire School).
The next two stories deal with properties that have been torn down, and are marked only by a plaque:
No. 17 Lane 1754 Huaihai Zhong Road was once the residence of poet Shao Xunmei, a grandson of Qing Dynasty officials who was educated at Cambridge University. The book has stories about his engagement to his wife, as well as a story of an affair he had with an American reporter, Emily Hahn, who came to Shanghai in 1935. It is said that Emily lived at No. 6 Lane 1754. There is a side story about the wild life of Emily Hahn.
Passed an interesting building at No. 1753 Huaihai Zhong Road:
The Shanghai Library:
Across from the library at No. 2 Lane 1610 Huaihai Zhong Road:
The former residence of Chiang Ching-kuo, a son of Chiang Kai-shek and his first wife. He attended university in Russia and held various posts in the Kuomintang Party. He succeeded his father as party president (at that time they were in Taiwan) and held the post until his death in 1988.
When Chiang Ching-kuo lived here in 1948, his job was to stabilize the economy. His methods were to force people to hand in gold, silver and foreign currencies for paper money and freezing prices on goods. This policy did not work, and the Kuomintang's control collapsed and they lost the support of the people.
There are also stories of Chiang Ching-kuo's Russian wife, and of twin sons borne by his secretary.
No. 1517 Huaihai Zhong Road:
Built in 1900 for a German, it was later the residence of Sheng Chongyi, the fifth son of Sheng Xuanhaui mentioned earlier in this Walk. Sheng Chongyi was a shrewd businessman, but unfortunately his children died young. He sold the villa for $1,000,000 US. It is now the residence of the Japanese Consulate General.
There are several more stories involving the Sheng family, from daughters encouraged by the Song sisters to fight for a share of the inheritance that was passed only to the sons, to T.V. Song falling in love with a Sheng sister.
No. 1469 Huaihai Zhong Road:
Built in 1921 for the Jardine, Matheson Company, the largest trading company in Asia at the time. After WWII, the Swiss Consulate General lived here. Rong Hongyuan, of a wealthy textile family, bought the villa in 1946. In 1948 Rong was arrested for illegally exchanging money. When he was released from jail, he went to Hong Kong, and then to Brazil, maintaining he was wrongfully accused.
After 1949, the All China Women's Federation used the house. During the Cultural Revolution it was a center for political education. Later it was a government guesthouse until 1980 when the United Stated leased it for their consulate.
That is the end of Walk IV.

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